Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Best People for My Business

I am discovering that the best supporters of my business are other Realtors that do a lousy job. Seriously, people become giddy when they meet a Realtor that ACTUALLY wants to help them achieve their goals and is COMPETENT enough to do that. I know there are lots of other good Realtors out there but I also know there are a whole bunch of Realtors that either lack the knowledge, the critical thinking or the work ethic to be a truly effective advocate for their clients. Those Realtors help make me look good. Please don't misunderstand, I am not arrogant. I am confident. I know that I do a good job because I WORK at doing a good job. I ask questions, I constantly learn, I dig in and do the work at odd hours because it is what my clients need. Not everyone does that.

I also know that my profession is not the only one where this phenomenon happens. I am sure there are others within your chosen profession that are really good and motivated and there are some that just plain stink at what they have, for whatever reason, chosen to do. I challenge you to be the one that benefits from the lousy colleagues. I tell people pretty often that I don't mind being their second choice if the first one doesn't work out. Probably 50% of the time, I get my shot. The cool thing is that those people are clients for life because they have seen bad service first hand and, most importantly, followed that up with good service.

Please share your experiences with either bad or good service. What makes service either bad or good in your book? Do you share your bad experiences with others? Most importantly, do you share your good experiences with others? If you get great service, you return the favor by talking about the provider and recommending him or her. Don't forget that!!!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Financial Responsibility

Most of you know how I feel about government involvement in the economy and the like. Even so, I would like to spark a conversation. This is not a conversation about Democrats, Republicans, Conservatives or Liberals. I don't really care for the tags. I am more interested in doing the responsible thing and finding the best solution for a problem. In that, I may have to give some stuff up but so might you and your neighbor.

I taught high school economics for 3 years. We always started the semester with a discussion of wants and needs and then transitioned into a discussion of The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith. I always found it interesting that high school seniors sometimes had a tough time distinguishing wants from needs. I will look at this in a moment, back to the Adam Smith book. One of the main themes of this book is that if each individual does what is best for himself, the group benefits. In other words, if everyone looks out for themselves, the group doesn't have to help and thus the whole group flourishes. I used to think it was that simple. Now I am seeing how much more complicated it is.

I can take care of myself to some extent. I am greatly aided by the group as well. For example, I could go cut down a tree on my property and sell it. I am aided by the group in that I have roads to help me transport that tree to my buyer. For the most part, I don't have to worry about someone killing me and stealing my tree because I have police protection. I also have the benefit of a stable monetary system (which is a whole other argument but for this illustration it is a benefit) that allows us to have a medium with which to conduct business. Just in that little example, I am aided by three different entities, at three different levels of government (state or municipality for the roads, municipality or county for the police, federal for the money). Did I sell that tree on my own?

At the same time, I am utilizing vehicles already in place that enable me to take care of myself. It was my entrepreneurial spirit that told me to cut the tree, set a price and sell it. It was me that did the work and it was me that reaps the benefits. Should a portion of my reward be required to go to someone who chose not to work or to an entity that wastes money like a crazy person? It's truly a tough call. I did what's best for myself, I am not a burden on the group but I benefit from the group.

On the flip side, there are people who cannot care for themselves. What do we do with them? Is it private charity that should care for them? Is it government that should care for them? Is it individuals that should care for them? Should anyone care for them? I don't know the right answer here. I tend to think the private sector would do a better job if they didn't have the government crutch saying they will just handle it but I have no evidence of that.

I still think that less government involvement is best and I can't stand the thought of a "benevolent" government that is there to care for and nurture it's citizens. That makes me very uncomfortable. If they care so much for us then they start to have a say in our liberties, just like our parents did. That said, I certainly see the need for safety nets. I just don't want those safety nets to become comfortable cocoons for lazy people on my dime.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

No is a very difficult word. I have a hard time hearing it but I have a harder time saying it. I end up overloading my schedule/life because I can't seem to use this tiny, one syllable, two letter word. Part of it is that I want to please people. Part of it is I don't want to "miss out on something." Both are terrible excuses.

Think about this from a basic economic principle, every decision has trade-offs. When you choose to do one thing with your resource (time, money, brainpower, etc.), it is impossible to do something else with that exact resource. How you allocate your resources is called budgeting. This principle is so very important when you are a dad with a very demanding job. Every minute I choose to work is a minute I don't spend with my kids, my wife, my friends. This is ok if I am aware of it and make those decisions consciously. The problems arise when work becomes a compulsion or when I am addicted to "yes." The issue is further complicated by extra activities--church, friends, other family, hobbies, Facebook, etc. Every time I choose those items, I DON'T choose the rest of them. Prioritization is essential. Inability to say "no" is devastating.

How do you say no? How do you prioritize? Are there some tricks you can share to make this easier?